Are Fiddle Leaf Figs Toxic to Cats?

Last Updated on February 11, 2022 by Grow with Bovees

Are you considering purchasing a beautiful fiddle leaf fig to add to your lovely plant collection, but you are not sure whether it would pair well with your pet cats?

Then this article is for you. We shall be answering and discussing the question: Is the fiddle leaf fig toxic to cats?

The bad news is there is a great selection of beautiful house plants that can be poisonous to cats and dogs and other animals or pets when these shrubs are ingested and fiddle leaf figs are part of that group of plants. Other dangerous plants include aloe vera, snake plants and lilies.

Even though fiddle leaf figs are not as toxic as other popular indoor plants, they can still cause your feline friend to become rather ill if it chews on the plant’s leaves, and we therefore advise that you keep this plant out of reach of your cats or if you can’t, get other plants.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Facts

Fiddle leaf figs — botanical name Ficus lyrata — are a popular perennial houseplant with magnificent violin-shaped leaves. This large, exotic-looking plant is also known as the panda plant, the fruit salad plant, horsehead philodendron, the banjo fig and fiddle leaf fig.

All parts of fiddle leaf figs are mildly toxic to cats due to irritant sap that is released when they are chewed on.

Do not get it confused with the Philodendron bipennifolium, which is a plant also known as fiddle leaf.

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Symptoms Of Fiddle Leaf Fig Poisoning

The symptoms that occur from these plants’ toxicity are caused by tiny needle-like crystals — which are released by the plant cells when the cat chews on the shrub.

They are known as insoluble calcium oxalate crystals which are found in the plant’s milky sap. Should your cat have ingested any parts of these toxic plants, it will quickly present these symptoms.

It is important to look out for them.

Drooling

Excessive drooling is one of the first symptoms that arises after cats eat a fiddle leaf fig. Your cat might also be continuously pawing at its mouth.

This happens due to the release of the toxic insoluble calcium oxalate crystals which cause oral irritation and intense burning of your feline mouth, lips and tongue.

Frothing

You might also notice some frothing in your cat’s mouth. Due to mouth irritation, depending on the amount of plant tissue the cat ate.

Breathing

Irregular breathing and difficulty swallowing are other symptoms of excessive ingestion of the fiddle leaf fig, and it is caused by swelling and irritation of the mouth and throat.

Abdominal/Intestinal Tract Issues

Other common signs that may occur from fiddle leaf poisoning are gastrointestinal irritation such as stomach cramps and vomiting.

What To Do When Your Cat Ate Parts Of Fiddle Leaf Fig

Very often, the symptoms of fiddle leaf fig poisoning are not life-threatening and toxicity is mild. This is due to the cat having a natural instinct to spit out the plant matter immediately after chewing on the plant.

There are things you can do at home if the symptoms are not too severe to help your cat recover, and it should recover within a day or so.

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If you, however, feel that there are large amounts of this plant in your cat’s system, if you are worried and recovery is taking too long, we suggest that you take her to your nearest vet immediately for treatment with activated charcoal.

Continue reading for some home treatment methods.

Milk

Provide your cat with loads of milk and food that has a good amount of calcium in it. The calcium content will counteract the inflammation by helping to dissolve the toxic calcium oxalate crystals. This, in turn, will take the edge off the discomfort and your cat will experience some relief.

Water

At the initial stage of poisoning from fiddle leaf figs, you can immediately wash out your cat’s mouth with water in order to decrease discomfort in the mouth and minimize oral irritation.

Providing your cat with water is very important, especially if your cat has severe symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea. You do not want your pet to get dehydrated on top of battling with fiddle leaf toxicity.

Comfort

Comfort is the key to a speedy road to recover. Distract your cat from the painful symptoms caused by the inflammation and try to keep her as comfortable as you can.

How To Keep Your Cat Away

If you plan on keeping a fiddle leaf fig and a furry friend in the same household, make sure that it is out of reach of your cats or train your cat to stay away.

Read on for a few tips on how to keep your cat away from your fiddle leaf fig.

Place It in the Correct Location

If you are growing a fiddle leaf fig in your house, it is important that you find a place for it where your cat most likely will not reach it.

This could be on top of a high shelf or cupboard. Make sure that there is no furniture standing nearby the shelf or cupboard you want to place the pot on. This makes access to it less easy.

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A small, elevated space, such as an empty corner, is a great location for this plant.

Create a Barrier Around The Pot

Felines are great leapers by nature and, should you still feel uneasy about placing your fiddle leaf fig, even on a high area, you can try to cat proof your pot.

Placing chicken wire or cat garden mats over and around the pot will definitely prevent your cat from getting to the Ficus lyrata. It might not look very appealing, but your cat will be safe, and your mind will be at ease.

And don’t worry, chicken wire still provides adequate ventilation for your shrub.

Another option is to cover the soil of your plant with small rocks or tin foil.

Conclusion/Final Thoughts

Are fiddle leaf figs toxic to cats and other pets when ingested?

All in all, having cats and a fiddle leaf fig plant in the same house is possible. But because they are toxic to cats, it takes a bit of planning.

Place these types of houseplants — or any types that are toxic to cats — in a safe location or create a barrier around them.

Always monitor your cat’s health and know the symptoms that arise when these plants are ingested by your cats.

Should your cat get ill, take her to the vet for treatment.

If you remain unsure, you can opt for indoor plant alternatives such as an artificial fiddle leaf plant, a friendship plant, rattlesnake plant, spider plant or any other cat safe plant for that matter. These all make wonderful plants to display.

There are many house plants that are not toxic to cats.

Good luck!

References;

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15862089/